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The hot list – October 2015

Written by Josh Russell on Wednesday, 28 October 2015. Posted in Technology

The future is finally here: scientists have created a tractor beam. Kind of. The Spanish team have used ultrasound to produce acoustic holograms that can lift and manipulate objects in the air. Prefer tech you can actually see? We've still got you covered

The hot list – October 2015

Google Nexus 6P

Hardware

Nexus handsets are usually great at eking out the best from Android but are let down by less than perfect hardware and design choices. Developed by Huawei, the Nexus 6P is much more solid than its predecessors and has a much more premium feel, owing in no small part to its aluminium frame – gone are the cheap polymer cases of the 5 and 6. It also comes with some great features: an insanely high-quality 518ppi AMOLED display; a fingerprint reader, cleverly placed in a recessed circle on the back where the user would naturally place their finger; and Android’s new battery-saving mode Doze, which shuts down non-essential features when it detects the phone is not in motion. 

 

Microsoft Surface Book

Hardware

Microsoft has been one of the leading proponents of tablet-laptop hybrids but thus far it has been unable to back this up with a product that would convince us to trade in our existing desktop. This has all changed with the Surface Book. It’s the first device to truly nail the transition from laptop to tablet, thanks to a beautifully engineered hinge that easily allows the user to detach the screen as a giant tablet, itself rather reminiscent of the recent iPad Pro. Taking into account its serious build quality, premium materials and high-end keyboard, it certainly seems that the Surface Book might be the first laptop in a long time to have Apple in a sweat.

 

Ember

Hardware

We’ve all been there: you leave your hot beverage to cool down to a sub-scalding temperature, then get distracted by work and find your long black has since turned to into an ice coffee. Ember, the temperature adjustable mug, solves this problem with some seriously clever tech. Once a drink is poured inside, a phase-changing material in the walls of the mug melts, absorbing heat from the liquid and cooling it down to a drinkable temperature. As the beverage reaches your desired temperature – which is set by turning the bottom of the mug or via the associated smartphone or Apple Watch app – a heating element kicks in, keeping your mocha perfectly suppable for up to four hours.

 

Skeye Pico Drone

Hardware

People often associate drones with death from above or ubiquitous surveillance but this little chap might just win over even the most hardened droneaphobe. Truly as cute as a button, the Skeye Pico Drone is currently the smallest drone in the world, measuring just 2.2cm x 2.2cm and weighing a mere seven grams. And yet, despite its diminutive stature, it’s a rather nifty flyer, weaving in and out of obstacles with ease. The only danger we can see is that it’s rather hard not to anthropomorphise the wee fella – and falling love with a stamp-sized robot isn't an easy one to explain to the family. 

 

Blocks Modular Smartwatch

Hardware

Whilst plans for Google’s Project Ara may have stalled, Blocks Wearables believes the future is modular and is aiming to create the world’s first truly customisable smartwatch. The Blocks Modular Smartwatch comprises two key parts: the core clock module carries out the standard smartwatch functions, enabling users to send messages, make calls, view their schedule and track fitness and sleep. Meanwhile, the individual modules that make up the strap add a wide range of additional functionality, providing everything from contactless payment and a fingerprint sensor to gesture control and kinetic charging. And evidently it’s set to be a hit: the wearable has already smashed its original Kickstarter goal of $250,000 more than four times over. 

About the Author

Josh Russell

Josh Russell

Our former editor, Russell was the man in charge of properly apostrophising our publication and ensuring Oxford commas are mercilessly excised. Our former digital doyen, he’s also a Photoshop pro, a dab hand with InDesign and the man to go to if you need a four-hour soliloquy about the UK's best silicon startups.

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